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South eastern Sicily has a rough, dramatic landscape - mountain then ravine - but it's the eight gorgeous Baroque towns of the Val di Noto, sitting graceful and placid amongst the drama, which call out to travellers. All of them are eye-catching - they sprang up together after a devastating earthquake in 1693 - but Noto is probably the finest of them all. A Baroque fantasy in honey-coloured stone, some of the best places to stay in Noto can be found in this centre.
Noto is easily explored, most of its main sights are situated on its grand Corso Vittorio Emmanuele, along with two of its best gelato cafes.
This green and elegant promenade has beautiful Baroque palaces and churches all along its length. So if you stroll beneath its palms you've no chance of missing the freshly restored cathedral, the pantomime of iron work figures on the balcony of the Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata, or the views from the top of the bell-tower of the church of San Carlo al Corso - among just a few of the Corso's charms.
Many of these Baroque beauties are just as lovely inside as out. Noto also boasts beautiful gardens, some of which have a very North African flavour - Noto is a bit Sicily-meets-Granada - so there are plenty of places to enjoy your gelato alfresco. Between churches and palazzos of course!
- Seven Rooms Villadorata is right in the heart of Noto, amongst beautiful architecture and Baroque balconies. This B&B occupies one of Noto's treasured 18th Century palazzos, and has views over the cathedral.
- One of the best places to stay in Noto isn't actually in Noto. But the Masseria degli Ulivi's setting, amongst olive groves above Noto, offers amazing views and excellent access to the town. Rooms, including some triples and quadruples, are modern and elegant and the surroundings are serene, with beach and town adjacent.
Best Hotels in Noto
Masseria degli Ulivi 34 rooms from $115Noto
A serene hillside hotel surrounded by olive groves in a remote setting above Noto. Bedrooms (plus some triples and quadruples) are perfect for families and groups, all decorated with contemporary elegance. Fabulous infinity pool and excellent restaurant. Close to beaches and sights nearby.Sights nearby - Palazzolo Acreide and the delights of the World Heritage Site NotoBirdwatching - Wetlands around Vendicari.Remote - Off the beaten track.Secluded setting - For escaping.Recommended by - I Escape
Seven Rooms Villadorata 3 rooms from $199Noto
A historic building in Noto's medieval centre. Grand, beautiful architecture, frescoes on the ceilings, Baroque balconies, and ornate decoration. An elegant B&B with wonderful views. very romantic, also family friendly.Sailing - With or without a skipper can be arrangedLocal markets - Good for local colour.Great walks - Good for walkers.Sights nearby - Well located for major sights.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith